Congratulations to more than a quarter-century of Deepdene Writers.  This website was created to applaud and inspire all you risk takers who set out to stare down, to discover, to invent, to find your way–and especially for those who see their work to completion. 
“… black words on a white page are the soul laid bare.”
―Guy de Maupassant

CATHY LICKTEIG’s 100-word love story is included in a new podcast by WBUR and NYTIMES : “Tiny Love Stories for Valentine’s Day.”  
Cathy’s poignant story is one of 20 selected stories read by the people who wrote them.  Hers was first published by the NYTimes on Christmas morning 2019 .  You can access the podcast and hear Cathy read her story by  entering Tiny Love Stories for Valentine’s Day New York Times and WBUR –or by clicking this link:
Tiny Love Stories For Valentine’s Day



CATHY LICKTEIG NYTIMES, TINY LOVE STORIESpublication date Dec. 24 (CLICK BELOW THEN SCROLL to Cathy’s touching Christmas Eve story:


NECHIE KING (N.R. King), Courtships, available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Kirkus Review: A family of Russian Jewish immigrants navigates life in Scotland’s Jewish community in King’s debut historical novel, set in the years surrounding World War II. The novel as a whole showcases King’s impeccable research, which is particularly evident in …the captivating details about daily life in mid-20th-century Edinburgh. …It’s a heady time for the characters, and the author shows notable skill in bringing it to life. A rich family drama that clearly captures the complicated relationship between two siblings. 

Nechie’s nonfiction has appeared in The Baltimore SunHorizons, and The Portland ReviewCourtships is her first collection of linked stories.




MIRIAM ZADEK has completed her coming of age memoir, Miriam Hearing Sister. It is currently under review by a publishing house.

Miriam Scharfman grows up seeing her family as no different than other families. This, despite the fact that, when Miriam’s little sister is born deaf (Miriam’s older sister is also deaf), Ma starts to “hear voices”–and the family separates for a time. Deafness is perceived as a profound disability.  In the not-distant future, Hitler will be rounding up the “disabled,” and the Jews, while at home in Mt. Vernon, NY, Miriam’s Jewish, Russian-born father will be listening each morning to the news of the war, the receiver of his hearing aid placed directly onto the radio …. A decade later, Daddy will threaten suicide if Miriam even thinks about marrying a deaf man. With all that, Miriam opens her story: 


A deaf house is not a house of silence.

The refrigerator still hums. The furnace motor trips on and off.

Hot water gushes through pipes.

The washing machine slaps clothes with water that reverberates

off the sides of the drum.

Radiator pipes not properly bled before winter knock out rhythms.

Then there is the clapping of hands, the stamping of feet.

Sound waves vibrate through air or off floorboards—bypassing the ear but not the body.

“You! Turn around. Look at me. Figure it out! I’m calling you!”



Thanks for the shout out Margaret! This makes two essays in the NYT that I can credit to your class (and great crew of critiquing partners!).

Houses Where Friends Used to Live


This Halloween, my daughters will don their wigs and wands and, holding out their plastic pumpkins, knock on the doors of houses where friends used to live.

On Halloween we’ll ring doorbells, doors opening to new faces inside those houses that helped raise my children.


Lucy Jones, illustration


JEAN-PIERRE WEILL’s new book, EVOLVE: A Children’s Book for Adults, is undergoing a final proofing, even as its author/illustrator assembles an exhibit of “constructions” based on 100 of Evolve’s vivid water colors. These artworks will appear in the 2019 Jerusalem Biennale, representing the work of 235 artists in 27 exhibitions. Jean-Pierre has been assigned a central space in the central building of the event—as a solo exhibit. The biennale opens Oct. 10th.

Weill on Weill (9/10/19): “On August 1st, I decided to present the paintings as 3-D constructions: 100 constructions in 50 days of work. Is it doable?  I’ve just completed the 71st, constructing and painting two per day, sometimes three. It has to be ready October 1st, so I am working demonically. The result, in this tumult, is truly lovely. I’m tickled. After working for 3 years, forward and backwards, forwards and backwards again, I’ve opened up to a different space, not thinking much, just executing one hand movement after another without thought. …”

Evolve is a picture-book narrative about the pursuit of human freedom, employing a radical rereading of seminal stories from the Old Testament. …More to come on Weill’s new book.

RICHARD ANDERSON’s new documentary film, What About Auburn?,  takes a critical look at how and why a formerly prosperous, self-sustaining and vibrant small town in eastern Ritchie County, Maryland, fell on hard times and, in just a few decades, lost most of its population and all of its commerce and industry. The film features a musical score by singer-songwriter Todd Burge of Parkersburg, with additional songs by noted musician Mike Morningstar.  To see the film trailer and learn where the film is playing, go to  http://whataboutauburn.com .

ANDREW BROWN, author of The Chugalug King, discusses his Native American heritage and survival–and reads an excerpt from his book.  Video: http://www.passagerbooks.com .

MICHAEL WHELAN’s poem, “An Idea of Order at St. Francis de Sales,” has been selected to appear in The Wallace Stevens Journal, Special Issue: Stevens into Music, Fall 2019.

JOHN ANDERSON has completed a 400-page draft of his mother’s South Pacific war story. It includes diary entries, letters, and photos from her three years as a US Army nurse during WWII as well as historical backdrop and the writer’s reflections.  A prominent historian is helping with fact checks. John expects to have the book ready for publication in a year. …Since his retirement as a Hopkins nephrologist, John has become a regular contributor to The Journal of the National Capital Radio and Television Museum.

MARK SMITH, The Baltimore Sun, Sept. 4, 2019 https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/readers-respond/bs-ed-rr-trump-economy-letter-20190904-o2adzfft4vendf6zq5q4ruq7ka-story.html

DONNA SAUTER’s entry in the 2019 Faulkner Wisdom Competition again made the short-list (one of the top 12 entries considered for this year’s prize).  Donna’s entry was the first 6,000 words of her novel-in-progress, The Weight Of Color. (You may remember characters Rhoda and Nellie).

DAVID EBERHARDT’s Peace Movement memoir, For All The Saints: A Protest Primer, is available on Amazon and from David (mozela9@comcast.net).


MAGGIE MASTER published her first NYTimes essay June 29.  The piece evolved from a 500-word Deepdene Writers prompt.  The essay is about the loss of Maggie’s mother,  and how Maggie is connecting her small children to the memory of their grandmother through the magic of gardening.  To say this piece is beautifully crafted is not to say enough. …Click on the illustration to read.

Riding the Second Wave: How Feminism Changed Women's Psychology and Mine

JESSICA HERIOT will be in Baltimore Thursday, July 19, to speak at the Village Learning Center, 2600 St. Paul St., 7:30 p.m.  (The site is the former branch library next to Margaret Brent Elementary School.)  Jessica will be reading from her recently published book, Riding the Second Wave: How Feminism Changed Women’s Psychology and Mine.

Jessica’s new book illuminates the pre-feminist world of psychotherapy and what that meant for many women who sought talk “therapy.” …In 1973, Jessica Heriot and four other women founded the Women’s Growth Center here in Baltimore. That center has continued for 45 years to offer psychotherapy rooted in a feminist perspective.

The intersections of Jessica’s personal stories with her role in helping to change the practices of psychotherapy for women are fascinating.  Some of you may recognize the more personal of her writings from workshop.

JESSICA HERIOT, PhD, Village Learning Center:   July 19, 7:30 p.m.

The following is from one of the rave reviews posted on Amazon:  …well written and informative…inspirational. …As a woman of color, I often dismissed the feminist movement, as it didn’t seem to encompass my experiences as a black woman. I am gratefully [now] aware that the movement allowed me experiences as a woman that I would not have enjoyed had the wave not occurred. Inspired by Dr. Heriot to learn more about the feminism movement and psychology, I have now enjoyed several enlightened conversations with friends and former coworkers, most of whom are black therapists. …I would encourage therapists, child welfare workers, other human service professionals, and women of color to read this book…I found Riding the Second Wave to be a book of hope at a time when hope seems lost. 


TERESA ELGUEZABAL’s essay, “Sleeveless, at Least,” chronicles her struggle to regain her ability to dance Argentine tango after a crippling accident. It is one of 11 essays included in Firsts: Coming of Age Stories by People with Disabilities, edited by Belo Miguel Cipriani,Oleb Books,http://olebbooks.com/our-books , available on Amazon.

Excerpt: I had survived a stint in a Baltimore shock trauma unit and been moved out of ICU. Yet I was still nourished with a milkshake concoction plunged into a gastric tube. A catheter emptied my bladder. A ventilator breathed for me through a hole in my neck, making a roar that my three-year-old grandson said sounded “like Darth Vader.” An orthopedic brace hugged my left ankle.  As I exercised, a young doctor walked in. Glancing at the exercise ball in my hand, she flashed me a smile. “Keep that up,” she said. “Upper-body strength will help you later to operate your wheelchair.”   My jaw tightened. “I have to dance.” I was toning my arms to wear sleeveless at milongas.

JOSH PONS is writing a monthly installment for The Blood-Horse, a national weekly magazine devoted to the thoroughbred industry and thoroughbred lovers. The poetry of Josh’s writing is a departure from this magazine’s usual news fare. “Letters from Rockland Farm” chronicles the history of thoroughbred racing in this country through an archive of Pons family letters, records, and thoroughbred racing ephemera dating back to the 1880s, and includes Josh’s current reflections, with his memories of growing up in the 1960-70s as a member of one of Maryland’s premiere thoroughbred breeding and racing families. Ellen Pons, his wife and partner, illustrates the series with her photographs.  It’s expected that the 12 installments will be further developed and published as a book, as were Josh’s diaries, which were first commissioned by the magazine: Country Life Diary: Three Years in the Life of a Horse Farm, and Merryland: Two Years in the Life of a Racing Stable, published in1999 and 2007, respectively, by Eclipse Press.

Rockland Cover

DONNA SAUTER’s Love and Other Losses is one of 15 shortlisted novel-in-progress entries in the 2018 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.  The winning entry and the runner-up will be selected from the competition’s top 15 of 198 contenders. Stay tuned… 

VIRGINIA MASSEY-BURZIO’s current project is a 20,000-word essay about her mother: “Sara Lamarche: An Ordinary Woman?” After Sara’s death, Virginia discovers her mother’s early- and late-life diaries and begins piecing together a picture she doesn’t quite recognize as her mother—or herself.

Excerpt: I only knew Sara Lamarche as my mother, a suffocating woman who incessantly hovered over my sister and me as if we were about to come to some bad end. I couldn’t wait to grow up and leave home. Not only was she after us all the time, but she had an endless list of what she herself had to do: cook, scrub floors, wash dishes, wash laundry, iron, grocery shop, balance the family budget to the last penny .  I never saw her relax or go to lunch with a friend, or get a manicure, or go to the movies. Early on I decided I would not end up like her. . .

RICK SHELLEY, who has shared three of his Venetian tales with our workshop (and numerous other stories), is now about the work of writing a new play and revising an Oscar Wild short story for his Theatre Serenissima. The name, meaning the most serene, comes from La Serenissima, a name for the old Venetian Republic. Theatre Serenissima has played to sell-out crowds at both the Visionary Arts Museum and the Cultural Alliance.  Watch this space for updates.

MARY PORTER has completed a first draft of her 250-page memoir, Swimming with the Current.  Quick overview:  Through open water swimming, talk therapy, and teachings of a real-life swami, Porter embarks on a journey to reconnect with herself when her 14-year-old daughter takes scores of pills in a suicide attempt.

Excerpt: Swimming became a spiritual activity. Swami teaches that every activity, when performed with right intention, has the potential to bridge the gap between our human self and our spiritual nature. Each time I entered the water—the pool at 5:30 in the morning or the Bay for an open water swim—my swim was a devotion, an expression of my commitment to experiencing the love of my Being. Doing so eased the chill of entry, and helped me focus on uplifting thoughts. …I practiced swimming to the rhythm of mantras, matching each syllable to my stroke. My favorite: Aum, Tat, Sat, which roughly translates to All that is the Truth. I liked the simplicity of those three syllables; I could repeat them a hundred times in open water or for several laps in the pool without being distracted. I also swam to Hong Swa, a mantra used to focus on the breath during meditation. Inhale on Hong, then stroke, stroke, stroke while exhaling.  Inhale on Swa, then stroke, stroke, stroke while exhaling.  The repetition emptied my mind and kept me in the present moment. Distance swimming became a meditative practice, a way of letting go of my worries, allowing me to connect with a sense of peace that eluded me on dry land.

CATHY LICKTEIG MAKOFSKI has returned to a book-length project, an informative and poignant memoir about resilience after the death of her husband and the day-to-day fortitude of her friends in the Camden, Maine, Parkinson group she’s been following and writing about for a number of years.

TODD HEBB is revising his collection of personal essays.

MACIE HALL is working on the backbone of her novel, A Murder of Crows, by writing a series of vignettes in order to psychoanalyze and better develop the character of surgical nurse and amateur ornithologist Annie Olsen. Olsen is the main character of this story. The question is how far will she go to survive in a dystopian U.S.-Canadian world–and how far and with whom has she gone already?

Excerpt:  Annie couldn’t let go of the need for David to be enthusiastic. David had been the one to want his own child. Could she blame him? No, but. . . if David wasn’t ecstatic, then this pregnancy, with her weeks of nausea and vomiting, culminating in the next-quite-possible miscarriage–on top all the other miscarriages–seemed too much to endure. David had wanted to stop. He’d told her so.  She and her twins were all he needed. It was Annie who couldn’t let go.

STEWART STACK says he’s learning to inhabit his characters by prewriting their thoughts via stream of consciousness. This technique may have something to do with his early training as an actor. More recently, Stewart has been either grip or gaffer (i.e., in charge of rigging or lighting) for such productions as Polyester, The Wire, Homicide: Life on The Streets, and King Gimp. The working title of his novel-in-progress is Luck’s Fault.

VICKI ENGLEMAN is at work on a collection of tales centered in a city neighborhood characterized by Old World expectations and post-WWII attempts at change.

Excerpt from “The Alteration”: Who wouldn’t notice that she [Phyllis] was wearing the infamous blue wedding dress–the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary’s version of the exact kind of punishment that had rained down on one Hester Prynne. Tillie beat a path to the front door and mumbled what sounded like, “Good luck and God bless.” And Phyllis thought, if you had one, why then would you need the other?–a dark thought for the bride-to-be who stood, silently, like a marble angel but grinding her teeth until they crunched like new snow under a truck’s tire. 

JENNIE MARK is taking the summer to finish up a couple of delightfully strange short-short stories, one involving werewolves and the other a charismatic but evil grandfather!

HACKY CLARK has restarted his “Las Vegas novel” after a decade devoted to establishing a law practice. If there’s a rubric for Hacky’s writing process, it’s likely to follow along these lines: use your imagination and have fun.  Hacky’s offbeat short story, “Wedding Present,” was a winner in a past City Paper annual fiction contest.

NECHIE KING has completed two collections of linked short stories and is at work on a third.

TRACIE GUY-DECKER notes that she can’t quit her job to focus on writing, but says, “I can take time off to give it professional-level attention, so that’s what I am doing.”  Tracie’s arranged to take a week off from work and family the week of July 16, another week in August, and one in September to work on her YA novel.

Overview: The Letter-Journal of Rose Hollander is a coming-of-age tale set in 1960s Baltimore that weaves fictional letters and journal entries with historic newspaper articles from The Baltimore Sun and The Afro-American. The action centers around the desegregation of Baltimore’s Gwynn Oak Amusement Park while exploring the mother-daughter relationship, race, racism, and Jewish-black relations.

ANDY BROWN recently pulled a manuscript (seen in workshop years ago) from a tall stack and revised it. That personal essay, a medley about Vietnam, life, death, family, the Oklahoma farm has been accepted for publication by Prairie Schooner.

To read one of Andy’s short stories, “The Woman Who Wanted To Be Hemingway,” from The Chugalug King & Other Stories, Passager Books, 2016, go to this location https://wordpress.com/post/margaretosburnwebsite.com/464  on this website.

RICHARD ANDERSON began work in May on a new documentary film, “What About Auburn”: http://whataboutauburn.com. His “Mike Morningstar: Here’s to the Working Man” just finished its film festival tour with a visit to the Bare Bones International Film Festival in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and is now available on DVD:  https://www.herestotheworkingman.com

Richard also just finished teaching a course in video interviewing at Common Ground on the Hill at McDaniel College: https://www.commongroundonthehill.org/home.html. Ten interviews of founding members and contributors will be used on the Common Ground website. “My class learned about video production, but they also learned about the history and philosophy of the Common Ground program. One of the reasons to write, take photos, and make movies is that you learn so much about the world and the people in it.”


KAREN BENNETT‘s novel, The Farewell Tour, becomes available on Kindle August 4.

MARGARET OSBURN‘s short metafiction, “How Unlucky Are the Dead,” appears in the April 2018 issue of Raleigh Review.  It is her fourth published story that draws upon the characters from her novel-in-progress.

Raleigh Review Spring_PROOF2_2018--front med web

MICHAEL WHELAN, author of After God (a memoir in poems), had three new poems  accepted for publication during the month of June. First up:  “Whatevuh,” online, June 20, in The Drabble.


SYLVIA FISCHBACH BRADEN most recently participated in a reading by 16 Passager -published poets. For the occasion Sylvia read her new poem, “Slipping,” inspired by Steven Millhauser’s 1997 novel Martin Dressler: Tale of an American Dreamer.


For more, see WRITER ARCHIVES 2010-2019

3 thoughts on “WRITER UPDATES: 2020-2019

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